Courting Contempt

Courting Contempt

Courting Contempt

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
June 28 2005 6:56 PM

Courting Contempt

Bloggers forecast what's next for journalists Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper; they also discuss the future of the space-shuttle program and react to news that researchers have succeeded in reanimating clinically dead dogs.

Courting contempt: The Supreme Court's refusal to hear appeals by the New York Times' Judith Miller and Time's Matthew Cooper means greater odds that the two could face jail time for their unwillingness to reveal the sources who leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Michael at Musing's Musings, who calls himself a "Zen Catholic liberal anomaly," is unimpressed by the reporters' case. "Miller and Cooper did no investigating in this matter: they were recipients of an illegal leak from a federal official, who violated U.S. law in revealing Plame's identity," he writes. "Refusing to name their source constitutes, in my admittedly non-professional opinion, an obstruction of justice"

Advertisement

In his Media Notes column, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz says that the case is coming at a bad time, given the public's distrust of the media. "[F]airly or unfairly, Miller and Cooper are seen by some as protecting high officials who carried out a tawdry act of revenge," he writes. "Their response is that journalists must keep their word when making a pledge of confidentiality and can't pick and choose according to how sympathetic the sources are. But this remains a tough sell, PR-wise, even though neither of them would be in this situation had Novak not published the leak."

Others note that conservative columnist Robert Novak has not been threatened with prosecution, though he was the first to make Plame's position public. "This is about press freedom, sure, but it is also about due process," writes journalist and PR manager Gary Goldhammer, commenting at Bayosphere. "I'm not saying Robert Novak should go to jail instead of Miller and Cooper – but I do believe Novak should face up to his day in court."

Read more on Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper.

One small step for NASA: Bloggers have mixed reactions to the news that a safety panel has deemed NASA ready for liftoff again despite fulfilling only 12 of 15 recommendations made by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board in late 2003.

Advertisement

Frequent space blogger Rand Simberg at Transterrestrial Musings exclaims, "They're going to kill more astronauts!" and adds that while NASA should "be embarrassed … it's the media who should be embarrassed. If they had had a little more technical competence at the time, they would have pointed out that some of the CAIB recommendations were technically unrealistic, and that [former NASA Administrator] Sean O'Keefe was foolish to pledge to meet them all. This was, in fact, the first point at which it was becoming clear that he was the wrong man in the job."

SjN, a great nephew of Gus Grissom, weighs in on the side of exploration. "I think this whole 'in the interest of safety' nonsense is taken a bit too far. If the shuttle exploded, find the problem, fix it and roll the next one back out!" he urges. Referring to the Apollo 1 fire that killed his uncle, SjN says, "Exactly 9 months and 13 days later … Apollo 4 was lifting off the launch pad at the Cape. It was the first all-up launch of a Saturn V! Now thats human spirit. It takes a serious set of stones to pick yourself up, brush yourself off and start all over again. But thats what they did. So what happened to us?" Sacramento blogger Chris at Incoming! says: "This is a really good reason why private space flight is so needed. We can actually focus on space exploration and use, rather than a perfect safety record."

Read more about NASA's safety measures.

Not all dogs go to heaven: Australia's NEWS.com.au caused a stir with a report that Pittsburgh scientists have succeeded in reviving dogs three hours after they were clinically dead. Researchers drained the dogs' blood, then filled the veins with a cold saline solution for two hours before replacing the blood and administering an electric shock that revived the canines.

"If it works on humans, it should bring up pretty interesting questions about the nature of life and the existence of the soul; not to mention the matter of when we should let people die," writes Sheni Fonler at group blog Bored Athenians.

Andrew, at his Mental Dribblings, wasn't shocked by the news. "Sadly the article is more about suspended animation than reanimation, so my lofty goal of creating an undead army of brain-hungry chihuahuas is still somewhat elusive," he deadpans. "Still, with a procedure relying on exsanguinations … this does rate pretty high on the godless-meddling-with-nature-o-meter."

Paul R. Wilson Jr., contributing to The Blogging of the President likes to think about the possibilities: "Imagine, shutting down a patients body entirely for doing open heart surgery. Or being dead for space travel; the weight savings on food alone would make all the inner planets feasible."

Read more about zombie dogs.